🔷 Family of late teen suing school, former superintendent

🔷 Adriana Kuch jumped in school, cyberbullied days before suicide

🔷 Charges were filed against other teens for bullying


BERKELEY — A year after the suicide of a 14-year-old who was assaulted and tormented on social media, her family has filed a lawsuit against the school district accusing administrators of negligence.

The suit, which seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, was filed in Ocean County Superior Court against the Central Regional High School Board of Education and then-superintendent of schools Triantafillos Parlapanides.

Attorney William Krais said that the family is seeking justice for Adriana Kuch by punishing the conduct of school officials, who he said "knew they had a bullying problem."

Also named as defendants are the principal, two assistant principals and anti-bullying specialists, as well as the anti-bullying coordinator and other staff and administrators.

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Canva
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In addition to negligence and punitive damages, the following charges are leveled against Parlapanides and the Board of Education:

🔹 Invasion of privacy
🔹 Defamation
🔹 Negligent infliction of emotional distress
🔹 Intentional infliction of emotional distress

The lawsuit says Kuch’s surviving family suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the district's negligence.

In response to a request for comment on Monday, officials for the Central Regional School District said they not yet been served with a copy of the complaint and as such, had "not yet had an opportunity to review it."

"Further, since this would be a matter involving litigation, the Board will be limited in what it can comment on publicly," a spokesman for the district added.

Adriana Kuch (mastapetermemorialhome.com)
Adriana Kuch (mastapetermemorialhome.com)
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🔷 Kuch was attacked, bullied days before suicide

The lawsuit details the in-school incident on Feb. 1, 2023, when Kuch was physically assaulted by several students in a hallway. The incident was recorded by several students' cell phones and then shared online.

“As a direct and proximate result of the inadequate, untimely, cursory, and inappropriate investigation of this attack by the Central Regional School District administrators, including all defendants herein, the attackers were permitted to post video of the attack, accompanied by devastating commentary, to social media sites for all to see, including Adriana,” the complaint says.

The teen suffered physical injuries, including cuts and bruising to her head, face, body and legs — as well as “emotional distress, humiliation, and embarrassment” from the subsequent social media posts.

Within the next day and a half, Adriana died by suicide by hanging herself in her family home.

Help is available

If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or click here to chat online with a trained counselor.

Central Regional High School (Berkeley Township NJ, Google Maps)
Central Regional High School (Berkeley Township NJ, Google Maps)
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‘Eat the s*** sandwich’ – Parlapanides emails after teen suicide

Parlapanides caused global headlines by sending news reporters inflammatory comments regarding the harrowing death of Kuch.

The lawsuit includes the extensive comments sent by Parlapanides, using his school email account, with various reporters, including to New Jersey 101.5, speculating about personal and private circumstances in the Kuch family.

Comments sent to multiple reporters by Parlapanides were “cruel, malicious, callous, insensitive, and entirely false,” according to the lawsuit.

Email to NJ 101.5 reporter from then-School Superintendent Parlapanides (Townsquare Media)
Email to NJ 101.5 reporter from then-School Superintendent Parlapanides (Townsquare Media)
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The suit quoted Parlapanides’ email response to New Jersey 101.5 on Feb. 8, 2023, which said, “The mom killed herself two years ago. The girls that assaulted her were friends with her but thought she had laced the marijuana they had smoked together. The father is very upset and has lost his child so sometimes you just have to eat the s**t sandwich.”

Calling such statements “highly offensive,” the suit said “Parlapanides knew that these matters, which he publicized through his emails to reporters, were false and would place plaintiffs Michael Kuch, Sr., and Sarah Kuch in a false light, and/or he acted with reckless disregard for the truth.”

In the weeks that followed, the community expressed concern and anger over how the district had handled Kuch’s situation, including a crowd of hundreds at a Board of Education meeting at Central Regional High School.

In addition, statements regarding Adriana Kuch’s alleged drug use, need for mental health counseling, offers of support to the Kuch family and any response by the Kuch family to offers are protected by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the complaint points out.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo) (2)
Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo)
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NJ mom sues over ‘persistent bullying’ before child’s in-school suicide

Just days after Adriana Kuch���s death, a younger girl took her own life inside her school.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, was found unresponsive on Feb. 6 at F. W. Holbein School in Mount Holly, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said at the time.

6th grader girl suicide in school F.W. Holbein Middle School, Mount Holly (mtholly.k12.nj.us)
(mtholly.k12.nj.us)
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The sixth grader was pronounced dead, two days later.

In November, Felicia’s mother, Elaina LoAlbo filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the Mount Holly school district on behalf of her daughter, saying she had been the victim of an “extended, persistent period of bullying” by other students.

Mallory (Photo: Mallory's Army Facebook Group)
Mallory (Photo: Mallory's Army Facebook Group)
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NJ mom behind ‘Mallory’s Law’ says bullying is an epidemic

In 2017, 12-year-old Mallory Grossman of Rockaway Township died by suicide after the middle school student had suffered persistent cyberbullying.

Tireless advocacy in her memory sparked state legislation known as “Mallory’s Law."

Dianne and Seth Grossman also sued the Rockaway school district for inaction in the pattern of bullying.

Mallory and Diane Grossman (Photo: Mallory's Army Facebook Group)
Mallory and Diane Grossman (Photo: Mallory's Army Facebook Group)
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That suit ended in August with a settlement of $9.1 million.

In settling, the district did not admit wrongdoing. School officials had previously called allegations of ignoring the Grossman family or failing to address bullying "categorically false.”

“I think that it’s time for the schools to understand that we have an epidemic on our hands,” Dianne Grossman said in a CNN interview this summer.

“I think it’s time for the schools to enforce their policies and if they don’t have policies — now’s the time to write those policies.”

Anyone in crisis and in need of immediate help can text or dial 988 or call the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hopeline at 1-855-654-6735.

There also is a chat option on the website.

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